Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Winds of Change 6.15.15

So, it's been a great week! I got a new companion, Sister Jesslyn Whittier. She is from Cedar City, Utah and has been on her mission for 6 months. She's super bubbly and excited and also has a beautiful singing voice. We've had a great week so far,and I'm excited to spend this transfer with her. Also, the winds of change brought in new technological advances - iPads. This has definitely been a week of learning and relying on the Lord as we try to implement the technology into our missionary work. Thankfully, we have a lot of resources and training to help us with that. Whew.

Okay, stories and miracles time. 
So on Tuesday we went and introduced Sister Whittier to ST. She loved her right off the bat, so that was really cool. So then Friday morning we had our lesson with her. She was telling us that she had had a really bad MS week, and that she just spent a lot of time doing research and stuff on it. Then she got really serious, looked us in the eyes and told us that she loves us. Then she told us that she will not be converting and that she won't be attending church anymore because she feels like she just needs to focus on researching her MS. She told us that she believes Mr. Smith's story and that the Book of Mormon is true. But she did say that she loves praying and reading with us, so we decided we are still going to read the Book of Mormon and pray with her. I started bawling as I was trying to tell her how much I loved her, but more importantly, how much Heavenly Father loves her. I testified that the gospel is true and that it's the thing that will bring us the most happiness and joy. So, I kind of got my heart ripped out a little. It's hard to see people not want to be a part of the most beautiful and happy part of my life [the gospel]. But I still love ST. I'm saddened by her disease and by her choice, but I pray that she will continue along the path and at some point in time whether in this life or in the next she will fully accept and embrace the gospel as I know she is capable of doing. 

Friday we had a lesson with BE and FL. We planned to teach the commandment "Follow the Prophet." Before we formally started the lesson, we were talking about the baptismal interview and he got a little nervous, so we suggested that we could go over the baptismal interview questions. He agreed. So he pretty much agrees/believes everything, except question 2 which is: "Do you believe the Church and gospel of Jesus Christ have been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith? Do you believe that Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God?" So, we just dove right into the lesson we had planned for him. We showed him a clip called, "Words of the Prophets" which is the testimonies of all the modern day prophets. Then we just testified of the prophets and their divinity. Cool news though: he's read 1 Nephi two times, and is into 2 Nephi 9. Also, we gave him a conference talk to watch and he watched it twice. I think his testimony will come. He knows what he needs to do, now he just needs to do it. 

Saturday! Coolest thing. Okay, so we had about 30 minutes of time between appointments, so we got out our list of potential investigators - people who missionaries had talked to in the past, gotten their information, but nothing had really happened. So, we were calling people, and we called a man named JO. Sister Weichers and I had met him previously during all the ice storms in February. So we called him and told him that we wanted to come share our message about the gospel of Jesus Christ and God's plan for strong families. He responded that he had just been thinking about how messed up his family is, that he was questioning God's purpose for him, and whether or not God really existed. We asked if we could teach him a a lesson, to which he agreed, but only on the terms that it was just too coincidental that he had just been thinking about it. So we met him at the park an hour later and taught him the restoration. It went pretty well, and we committed him to come to church.

Well, lo and behold, Sunday morning, he walks into church!! He sat with our ward mission leader who was able to explain sacrament meeting. Then we had gospel principles. We had a less-active from another ward with her sister and niece, our ward missionary and her friend, our ward mission leader and his girlfriend, and just another fellowshipper, plus JO. We discussed Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. It was a beautiful discussion! That was the best sunday school class I have EVER been to. The Spirit was so strong. I was so grateful for the comments that were shared. JO ended up staying all 3 hours, and he loved it. Even the transformation that we saw in him from Saturday to Sunday was amazing. By the end of Sunday he was grinning from ear to ear. I know that the gospel softens hearts!

Okay, spiritual insights from the week: 
  • At transfer meeting, I heard two statements that really influenced me. "What would Jesus Christ do as He went to buy bread at the supermarket?" That really made me reflect on my day-to-day interactions with people.
  • The other statement was "Walk the Sandal-ed Path." Like, walk the path that our Savior Jesus Christ walks. Loved it. 
  • I can personally become an epistle of Jesus Christ.
  • From "Seeking the Lord" by  Elder Jose A Teixeira from general conference: "As we deepen our understanding of the Savior, we will have an increased desire to live joyfully and a conviction that joy is possible. Consequently, we will have a greater enthusiasm for life and for keeping the commandments of God." Loved it. I love the word enthusiasm - the spirit of God in us.

I am so grateful for this gospel!! I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God's kingdom on the earth today. I am so thankful that I have this time to be spreading the glorious gospel with the people in McKinney.


Sister Gretchen Julie Gilbert

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